With Aadhaar receiving flak from all corners including whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Supreme Court on Wednesday was reminded about its questionable nature.
Terming Aadhaar as an 'electronic leash', the apex court was told every Indian was bound to the unique identity system and reduced individuals to nothing more than a number.
Headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, the court bench was told the Centre has started a barely-understood system of identification that seeks to restrict every Indian by putting them on an 'electronic leash'.
The bench also comprised Justice AK Sikri, Justice AK Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Advocate Shyam Divan told the constitution bench this as it commenced hearing a battalion of pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act. The petitions claimed that Aadhaar is a violation of the right to privacy.
Divan said that if the Act was allowed to continue unrestrained, it would "hollow out the Constitution, particularly the great rights and liberties it assures to citizens.
that is designed to track transactions across the life of the citizen". He said that "A People's Constitution will transform into a State Constitution.
Divan brushed aside the Centre's stand that challenging Aadhaar was elitist. He said the question was whether the Constitution allowed the state to embrace Aadhaar or reject this "giant electronic mesh.
He referred to a judgment of the nine-judge constitution bench which had upheld the right to privacy and said challenging Aadhaar was not elitist.
In addition to other questions, the bench asked Divan if the State could not compel the citizens to part with their biometric profile in larger public interest. It said the State could ask for the biometric identification of teachers and students in order to help facilitate the right to education or for the mid-day meal scheme for which hundreds of crores of rupees are spent.
the matter will continue on Thursday.